In the inevitable spurt of January reflections, I have resolved to blog a little more, and to pray a lot more.
Praying, for me, is a living and breathing thing, more a day-to-day openness to God’s Presence than a formal or liturgical rite. I believe in the love and encouragement of God, in his goodness, in his guidance and in worshipping Him. I believe that prayer is turning my heart and mind to Him in all the things I do, listening to his voice above the many others, asking for help, acknowledging his goodness and simply sharing my heart and life with Him.
Sometimes though, I forget. I bustle on with my life or struggle on or breeze along, depending on my circumstances at the time, without giving him a thought. After a while of this, though, I miss him. I remember that it is He that brings everything to life for me, who makes it all full and beautiful and meaningful. It is He that inspires and sustains me. When I forget to commune with him, everything suffers for it.
When I make space for his light in my heart, there is a way to joy in spite of difficulties. With my mind set on him, I don’t lose heart and I am renewed inwardly day by day, even if on the outside I am wasting away.
In this often unhappy world, we all need daily renewal. We all need hope. We all need to hear the voice of One who loves us and sings over us. We all need the fragile, murky clay jars of our lives to be filled with his unfading, indomitable treasure.
I find great hope in the concept that his greatness can be seen in my weakness. If my life is a clay jar, it has many cracks and broken parts. Hurtful and thoughtless words break through my pathetically thin skin, making hairline cracks. The pain of loss makes a larger break. The times I watch my children struggle and fall into their chaos with them. The times I lose my patience or act thoughtlessly. The anxious, hopeless, self-loathing thoughts. Somehow, these cracks become opportunities to let God’s light in to my heart and for it to shine out of my life.
When my heart turns often to prayer, I find God’s treasures quickly fill the space there, and overflow.
The Bible is so full of irresistible metaphors about this, I can’t help but mix them. For example, Jesus said, ‘streams of living water will flow from within [you]’ (John 7:38) and, in Galatians 6, Paul wrote about the ‘fruits of the Spirit’: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
So this January, I resolve to pray as close to constantly as I can, and each month of this year I hope to write a prayer to share on this blog, or to share one by another writer.
This month’s prayer is inspired – as is the reflection above – by 2 Corinthians 4: 5-18 from the New Testament.
Let your light shine in my heart. Help me see You clearly in everything. Let my thoughts turn often to you, Jesus.
In all the cracks of my life, shine through.
When I feel small or hurt or misunderstood, may my mind and heart turn to your life within me instead of falling into despair.
When I see your goodness, give me confidence to share it.
Let your grace reach more and more people in this struggling world.
Let thanksgiving overflow, in me, and around me.
Protect me, so I don’t lose heart.
Renew me inwardly every day, even when my body is tired or ill or tense with stress or carrying a heavy burden.
Fix my eyes on your hope.
Thank you Lord that You love me. You never leave me. You make my life beautiful in spite of all my flaws and failings. You are good.